When gas prices are high the incumbent President's support suffers. It's as simple as that. Now Obama and his liberal allies will come up with reasons it's not his fault till they’re blue in the face, but it's not likely to help. Excuse making isn't Presidential. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll demonstrates just how damaging the higher cost of filling up is to Obama's re-election prospects.
From the poll per the Washington Post:
Disapproval of President Obama’s handling of the economy is heading higher — alongside gasoline prices — as a record number of Americans now give the president “strongly” negative reviews on the 2012 presidential campaign’s most important issue, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Gas prices are a main culprit: Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the situation at the pump, where rising prices have already hit hard. Just 26 percent approve of his work on the issue, his lowest rating in the poll. Most Americans say higher prices are already taking a toll on family finances, and nearly half say they think that prices will continue to rise, and stay high. [Peak emphasis]
With gas prices expected to cross the $4/gallon threshold in May, according to the Energy Information Agency, that spells disaster for Obama.
That's because while Obama and Democrats are hoping to keep the national conversation on anything but the economy (contraception, really?), continued high and rising prices at the pump will make those debates even less relevant to most Americans lives than they already are.
Obama may be able to build a billion dollar campaign, but even that won't be able to produce enough propaganda to compete with the regular sick feeling in voters' stomachs when they see the bill for commuting to work and dropping their kids off at soccer practice.
In 2008, the one time it appeared McCain had a shot was when gas prices soared — proof that the pro-drilling arguments of the GOP, and the anti-drilling policies of leftists, move public opinion in favor of the party of limited government.
Talking heads love to pontificate about how 2012 will be defined about the economy, but they're only half right. It won't be about the economy per se, but rather about voters' perceptions of the economy.
The average voter isn't waiting breathlessly for the latest unemployment figures to come out, nor do they really care. What they care most about is their own economic situation. That is calculated through their own cost of living.
Has their rent or mortgage gone up? Are groceries costing more? Does it cost more to gas up the car?
In this case, one of the prime indicators of the economy to most voters is going in the exact opposite direction of where Obama would like it. Add on top of that the nearly endless supply of botched energy initiatives of the Obama administration (Solyndra, Abound, Fisk, etc) and you have a strong case for the GOP to make to place high gas prices at the feet of Obama.
Even worse, Obama’s own Energy Secretary Steven Chu has said he wants to see gas prices near $8/gallon.
With 2/3 of voters unhappy with Obama at the pump, gas prices may just gouge Obama out of office.